Los Banos High’s volleyball team stayed focused in Wednesday’s rout of cross-town rival Pacheco, winning 25-7, 25-6, 25-11.
Los Banos coach Greg Soliz has begun starting games with outside hitter Jade Fachin on the back row in order to get her serve in the game early, and it paid off big against Pacheco, with Fachin racking up 9 aces to go along with her 14 kills.
“She has probably one of the toughest serves, so it gets us some points early,” Soliz said. “And we have a front row good enough that we can count on some other hitters when she’s in the back, but to get her in the back row with her jump serve or just her jump float is big. I think our other hitters are good enough to side out and get her back in the front row.”
With Veronica Lampreda on the other side, middle blockers Savannah Pena and Evelyn Johnson holding down the middle and setter Colleen Allen also able to handle herself at the net, the strategic plays makes sense for Soliz, and it was a combination for which Pacheco had no answer.
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Los Banos scored the first point of the first game on a Julia Waldron ace and held the lead for the entire game. Pacheco scored the firs point of the second game on a Los Banos error, then a Pacheco error and two Fachin aces put the Tigers on top for good again.
The Panthers gave more of a fight in the third game, taking a 5-3 lead on a Nicole Terry kill, but Los Banos took a 6-5 lead on a pair of Pacheco errors and a Fachin kill, and again held it until the end of the game.
“The girls were ready to play tonight. It’s Pacheco, and it’s one of those things where the girls were excited to play, they were ready to play,” Soliz said. “They stayed focused, and they didn’t get caught up in the hype in the beginning and start making mistakes. We stayed within our game and got off big early.”
Pacheco’s Alexis Garza did what she could on the back line, compiling 8 digs. Jen Eagleton added three kills, and Linda Thompson had 4 assists for the Panthers (12-11, 2-3 WAC). For Los Banos, Allen had 14 assists and Lampreda added 4 digs.
“The thing is, with this game it’s all about passing and serving. If you can pass and serve, you’re going to play great,” Soliz said. “We really focus on passing. Even with them serving, they had some good tough serves, but we work on our passing so much that it helps us.”